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Nic Ladds 20th Aug 2009 - 14:04

In a time for heroes New Zealand are lucky to have two

An intriguing contest awaits us with the whole of New Zealand expecting nothing less than victory from the 11/10 All Blacks after two defeats in a row a third will simply not be tolerated.

If the market has anything to do with it though they are up against it with Australia being chalked up the 8/11 favourites to record a historic victory at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

Both sides have lost two games including the Wallabies losing their opener to New Zealand in Auckland.

Looking at recent history between the two sides, Graham Henry will be delighted to see that the All Blacks have won 10 of the last 12 tests against Australia at all venues and interestingly the last three times these two have met the Aussies have led at half time then been beaten by the final whistle which could have punters queuing up take the 7/1 about Australia/New Zealand in the double result market.

On top of this, New Zealand welcome back their hero fly-half, Dan Carter who is talented to turn any game on it's head and worryingly for Australia, the away side have won 9 out of 10 Tests against the Wallabies when Carter and Richie McCaw have both been playing.

It's not all doom and gloom for the home side though as in the 10 Tests played in Sydney since 1996, Australia have won seven to New Zealand's three and surely the away side will be under immense pressure from the media, fans and critcs everywhere who simply will not tolerate a third loss in a row.

So who will come out best of this crucial struggle clash with the loser surely out of the Tri Nations running?

No Stirling Mortlock for Australia but the return of Rocky Elsom in the back row will give the pack a much needed spark that they've been missing and you can be sure they'll come out firing straight from the off and Australia on the half time market look a good bet at odds of 5/6.

Berrick Barnes and Matt Giteau have both come out and said the kicking needs to improve so you can be sure they will have worked on that side of their game and there not be nearly so many "Gary Owens" as there were against the Springboks.

Barnes could be good value to score the first try of the game for the typically fast-starting Aussies at odds of 16/1 while Adam Ashley - Cooper also looks a decent price also at 16/1.

New Zealand perhaps surprisingly for some, stick with Joe Rokocoko who is 12/1 to score first along with fellow winger Sitiveni Sivivatu but their success looks like it will need to be engineered by McCaw and Carter while the former can be backed at 25/1 to follow up his try the last time these two met and go over first this time.

It is desperately difficult to pin down who is going to win and it could be a case of who turns up on the day more organised and fired up for it but with McCaw and Carter back and no Mortlock for Australia the feeling is the All Blacks can edge an extremely tight affair with a 1-5 points victory 9/2 or the 10/11 on the handicap may appeal with the away side receiving a one point head start.

Whoever loses this will be the object of some serious scrutiny in their respective countries and with time running out for Graham Henry, he will be praying Carter returns demonstrating the kind of magic the world knows he is capable of.

Recommendation:

Australia/New Zealand - 7/1

New Zealand to win by 1-5 points - 9/2

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